“Pizza? I LOVE pizza slices!” Aria said as we loaded up the car in preparation for our trip to Bromley Mountain in Vermont. After explaining to her that the “pizza slice” was a teaching tool she’d likely hear at her ski lesson, not a lunch option, my 6-year-old daughter was still excited to dive into the adventure of learning to ski.
From the Parking Lot to the Slopes
Bromley Mountain in Vermont is known as “The Family Mountain” for its easy access to great skiing and promises of fun for the entire family, no matter their ability. Bromley didn’t disappoint as we had an amazing time both on and off the snow.
As first-time skiers, both my daughter and I were feeling a little nervous about what to expect when we pulled into the familiar parking lot. We had visited Bromley last summer and had a working knowledge of the mountain concerning warm-weather activities, but this was our first trip to the mountain in winter. We arrived around mid-morning and immediately found parking in the oversized lot across the street. It was a short walk to the main lodge and rental area as we took in the crisp air and mountain views.
Arriving 45 minutes ahead of the lesson, we were able to take our time signing in and going through the rental process. This also left extra time for the inevitable bathroom run and for us to find a cubby for our gear. It was the first time renting gear for both Aria and me, but once inside, the sign-in process was easy and the folks in the rental shop were knowledgeable and very helpful. Boots, skis, poles, and helmets seemed to come to us along with a cascade of new information. The rental crew wasted no time in getting us outfitted for our day. We even got pro-tips on how to carry all of our fun new gear and not look like total newbies. As it turns out, skis are pretty heavy and cumbersome, and interlocking the skis together with the ski brakes, and holding them as one item was so helpful.
Tips for carrying skis:
- Holding the skis upright. Pick them up by the binding (the bit that sticks out where you attach them to your boots).
- Make sure to hold them by the ski with the supporting break (lower ski)
- Lift it up off the ground in one hand, while holding the two ski poles in the other hand.
Learning to Ski
Once on the mountain, we met Billy Davidson, the ski school director who would be our instructor for the day. We were excited to have a private lesson; exclusively for first-time skiers, which cut down on the feelings of vulnerability as we were both learning something new in a completely foreign environment. Billy and his staff were excellent, and our lesson was full of learning opportunities and fun challenges. We immediately felt at home on the mountain with Billy in the lead as he wrangled us into starting positions and gave instructions on balancing, moving, and turning. Most importantly, my daughter learned how to ride the magic carpet without falling down! The care, attention, and patience Billy exuded were terrific, and he taught us how to navigate the mountain with clear, concise instructions.
Aria and I both learned to turn and stop with the aid of a hula hoop (a pink one for Aria!). It helped teach us how to maintain balance and stand independently while sliding forward and resisting the urge to lean back. After a few runs down the hill with the hula hoop, we were both feeling pretty confident. I was personally amazed that Billy had the stamina and wherewithal to teach both Aria and me simultaneously—two beginners in totally different age groups!
The private lesson that we experienced was but a drop in the bucket when it comes to the types of amazing programming available to kids (and parents) at Bromley. The Mighty Moose Program (for kids ages 3-5), and the Kids Rule Mountain Camp (ages 6-12) offer the same wonderful instruction that we experienced for kids of varying ages and difficulty levels. There is even an adaptive lessons program.
The Family Mountain
One of the things we love most about Bromley is that families of all ability levels can ski here and feel comfortable. There are easier green circle trails for beginners and a range of more advanced trails. The beauty is that all of the trails end up at the same base. After a day of skiing, everyone in the family, no matter their ability or level of adventure, will end up in the same spot to celebrate their adventures.
The more comfortable I became as a new skier on the mountain, the more I realized just how valuable this dynamic is. I’m looking forward to the day (after a few more lessons) when I can really hit the slopes solo and guilt-free. To have the peace of mind that I can check in on my daughter as she learns to turn and stop with the best of them while I play up on the mountain was a beautiful idea to look forward to.
As a new skier, and as someone who is an advocate for diversity in the outdoor spaces, I’m always thinking about accessibility. The excellent and private instruction available at Bromley along with the approachable and knowledgeable staff provided a feeling of safety that both new skiers and folks of traditionally marginalized communities in winter sports crave so deeply. The environment at Bromley gave us the freedom to learn and made us feel like it was okay to be new, it was ok to ask questions, and that we would be looked after on the mountain. With an $89 per lift ticket price tag (all day, every day!) Bromley is certainly positioning itself to make winter sports more financially accessible for people as well.
If you’re looking for an approachable, family-oriented mountain for your next (or first) winter adventure then Bromley is a great choice. From learning to ski to rentals, Bromley has your back. You can expect a fun day on the mountain with professionals who are committed to having first-time skiers win and foster a long-term love for winter sports. As of February 2022, COVID-19 protocols were still in full effect on the mountain, so don’t forget your masks (while indoors). If you are a first-timer, here is a bonus packing list (just the basics) for hitting the slopes with kids in tow!
The first time snow adventurers packing list (not including rental gear):
Change of clothes
Nutrient-dense snacks (we love fruits, nuts, and Z-bars)
Win a family pack of 4 lift tickets to Bromley Mountain
Share your first-time ski or snowboard experiences in the comments below to be entered. The contest ends at midnight on Monday, February 7! We will choose winners on Tuesday, February 8.
Rachel is the Owner/Transformationalist at Rachel Hailey & Associates Consulting, a firm which deals directly with the outdoor industry to foster DEI in organizations. Her main objective is to transform the outdoor industry into a diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible space. Rachel is committed to creating an industry where anyone can experience, thrive, and lead in the out of doors no matter their circumstances, and has a focus on underserved and underrepresented communities. She has served and inspired over 100 organizations in the creation of actionable systems aligned with creating diversity, equity, and inclusion in outdoor spaces. She is a frequent writer for industry publications like Adventure Park Insider and Ski Area Management, and has given talks on DEI & Social Justice on international platforms.Outside of her endeavor to bridge the gap between racial and ethnic diversity in the outdoors and social justice, Rachel can be found hunting fairies in the woods with her daughter.